Good vs Bad Endings // Let’s Talk Bookish

Endings *said with dramatic flair*

So, wasn’t feeling super creative with the introduction, so I tossed in some jazz hands and called it a day. I’m tired, ok? 

It has been a hot minute since I’ve written a discussion post. I’ve been very review-centric lately (shoutout to my mounding draft pile for that), so I’m feeling like spicing it up. Enter Let’s Talk Bookish. Let’s Talk Bookish is hosted by the Dani @ Literary Lion and Rukky @ Eternity Books.

As the title suggests, today we are going to chat about book endings. What makes a good ending? What makes a bad ending? What are some of my favorite endings in books?? Let’s hop right in!

My inner romantic wants to say that I like happy endings. But my inner cynic says that I like books that end with pain. Either one is fine by me.

Give me all the gooey happily ever after with sunshine and popsicles. Or render me so speechless that I have to sit under a blanket and stare at the page for 20 minutes as silent tears drip down my face. Pick one and commit. Do not pull punches. 

Other than picking an emotion to appeal to and rolling with it, I don’t think I can make an umbrella statement for what makes a good ending. It is one of those situations where it depends on the book. Sometimes a bow ending makes sense, and sometimes killing off a main character makes sense. As long as there is the proper set up, I don’t mind. But I can most definitely tell you what sorts of endings I don’t like.

Up to your imagination endings… just, no. Give me answers please and thank you. I have spent the last several hours of my life getting invested in the plot and characters, but they don’t get a resolution??

Cliffhangers are alright, but cliffhangers in a standalone are the most evil little mongooses. All I’m asking for is a little closure.

I also struggle with bad plot twists with absolutely no set up. So we are just going to ignore the last 300 pages. No thank you.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

shocking, dramatic, need. more. renegades. 

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer


Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

awww that is my heart—

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab

And that is the sound of my soul being destroyed wow wow wow

Winter by Marissa Meyer

They deserved their happy endings

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott,  Mikki Daughtry,  Tobias Iaconis 

A bitter sweet ending that makes total sense for the story

Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

I’m sorry but you can not go full 180 in the epilogue. Do not put a bandaid on the situation. No ma’am

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

no groundwork, all shock factor.

Faith Taking Flight by Julie Murphy

most of the book felt contemporary with a side of superhero. but then the end when full superhero and the vibes didn’t match

Endings can really make a break a book for me, but you never know which until, ya know, the end. And with closing remark, we are going to call this discussion a wrap!

What do you look for in an ending? What are some of your favorite endings? Least favorite??

33 thoughts on “Good vs Bad Endings // Let’s Talk Bookish

  1. This is such an interesting discussion. I personally love savage, horrific endings. I also love open endings in stand-alones? If they are done right they can make a 5 star read, in my humble opinion. My least favourite ending will always be “…and then I woke up from the dream.” Thankfully these are practically non-existent in this day and age. Happy reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ooh that’s true. If done well, they can totally make a book. I’m always left thinking about open endings days and days later sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a bad way, so I guess it’s mostly hit or miss for me.
      ick yes waking up from the dream ending???? hard no. nope. no thanks!
      thank you for reading!!


  2. If you hate cliffhangers in standalones, then never read Natasha Preston’s thrillers. The endings are the evilest thing an author could do. 🥺

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with your opinions! Open endings are evil in standalones, it leaves me wondering for surely a month what could’ve been? I love it when the story is just rounded up well.


  4. “My inner romantic wants to say that I like happy endings. But my inner cynic says that I like books that end with pain. Either one is fine by me.” I think I feel the exact same way, I feel like both can be done well and enjoyed. I think endings with no resolutions feel like the worse ones to me as well, it is so unsatisfying and you really remember it for all the wrong reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, this is such an interesting post, I love endings! And, as someone who writes, I love torturing people with endings *cackles*. I think there may be an evil mongoose in the book I’m writing right now…but it’s not exaaactly a cliffhanger. Just a…semi-cliffhanger.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. loved reading this post! ☺️💖 i feel like sad endings hit different and are also more impactful than happy endings in a sense HAHAHA so i like them (most of the time). but happy endings are just so comforting, especially for characters who have been through A LOT. and cliffhangers!! it’s torture when authors do it at the end of the series or a standalone bc while i love it, i also need to know what happens ahhh

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m with you on both extremes of the ending spectrum… having a love hate relationship with cliffhangers too haha, when done well they are incredible but it is awful when the sequel only comes out the next year… OHMYOHMY YES that ending for Renegades was phenomenal, I’m truly glad I managed to get all 3 books at once! And Winter made my heart full again ahh… thank you for the lovely discussion post, April! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yess incredible cliffhangers can totally make a book. the PAIN of having to wait another year— *ahhhhhhhh*

      yes yes yes all of the endings to the Renegade trilogy were amazing. they left me wanting more More MORE and might have caused me to binge read the entire series in one weekend… oops. haha yess Marissa Meyer definitely went both ends of the spectrum with Renegade’s WHAT reaction and Winter’s awwwww ending.

      thank you so much for reading Cherelle!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. OMG, this is so true!!!!!
    Have you read A Series of Unfrotunate events? cos like it is a freaking long series, and throughout the series there is this IMMENSELY BIG mystery waiting to be solved but at the end, IT FREAKING NEVER DOES, and boy was I irritated!!!!!
    Thpug, I did love the ending of Addie Larue, I think it was what made the time spent I had spent reading that book worth it, but I get you here. Answers, we do need them lol😂.

    Lovely post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooh I have not. THE AUDACITY— how could they just not solve it! eek sounds irritating!!

      yess the ending to Addie ripped my heart out and then duct taped it back together and left me rooting for the characters once again.

      and yes, always need those answers.

      thank you so much for reading Nehal!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved reading this, and 100% agree with endings that are either well deserved and happy or that utterly destroy my heart. Both can be so phenomenal. I also think that for the most part, I hate cliffhangers in standalones, but I read Descendant of the Crane and it ended on a cliffhanger. As far as I know, there isn’t going to be another book, yet I actually liked the way it ended? It’s weird, and it might just be a one-time occurrence. The ending of Escaping from Houdini was…terrible to say the least. The whole book really was such a disappointment.

    Great post and I love the design of your blog!! 💕✨

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yesss they are so different, but both so satisfying.

      Yea I kind of have a love-hate relationship with them. If it is done well, I can appreciate it, but vast majority of the time I end up extremely frustrated because I need answers ahhhhh! Oooh I have have to check out Descendant of the Crane. It’s been on my radar for a little bit, but if it has a satisfying ending, I’m sold.

      Oof yes the ending of Escaping from Houdini physically pained me. No, no, no. Do not put a bandaid on this hot mess you created thank you very much!

      Thank you so much 💙

      Liked by 1 person

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